Meet Scout Gillett, vinyl DJ, musician, writer, director, and events coordinator through her company Road Dog Booking. In 2017 she took the leap leaving Independence Missouri where she grew up for a change of scenery in New York City to pursue music and follow her dreams full time. With Road Dog Booking she works to organize shows for other independent artists. Her intrepid nature results from a childhood spent running barefoot through rural Missouri and coming of age in Kansas City’s punk scene. She “faked it til’ she made it vinyl djing” when a regular at a bar she tended who knew she collected vinyl asked if she DJ’d. She said ‘yes’ and has been dj-ing clubs and working at record shops in NYC since. She DJs mostly at Tv Eye, Alphaville, Trans-Pecos and The Lot Radio, playing 60s garage, 70s punk, New Wave, R&B, Rock and roll, Country and everything that makes her “feel” in between.
When not booking shows, DJing or making music, Scout is out looking for vintage treasure at thrift stores, or record stores; or at the beaching, swimming, going to shows, movies, reading, being outside and going on long walks. “I’m a nacho connoisseur and I once owned a prairie dog”.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
I started going to shows when I was 10 years old. There was a lot of music around me growing up. My dad is a singer and played in christian rock and rock and roll bar bands my whole life. I grew up singing in the church and with my family. My family is filled with talented dreamers and I was motivated to make my dreams become reality.
What is a day in the life like?
A day in the life for me is unpredictable. I’m either, touring, booking my own tours, adventuring, resting or writing. I love adventures and I sometimes will be tired and restless at the same time, and then next thing I know I’m in my van driving to the beach at 10pm on a weeknight. Could be the dead of winter. I keep myself and others busy and on their toes. If I am home from tour first things first, I wake up and make coffee. While my coffee is brewing I look through my records and pick out three records for the day and that’s usually how I set my mood. What I listen to effects what I wear, how I feel and helps motivate me for the day.
In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
Woof, that’s a hard one to answer. Recording my record “no roof no floor” was pretty cool. But more recently, in June of this year I made an extended video / short film that I wrote and directed while Julie Orlick directed the photography with 16 mm film on a Bolex h16 Rex 5 camera. It’s coming out later this year and I’m so proud of the work and think it’s my best yet. I also recorded with Benny Yurco in Burlington, Vermont and that was an amazing time and also some of my best work yet captured.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
The inconsistency of it, the isolation, the lack of care and understanding that so many people have towards the arts and creative world. The fear of AI taking over, I would not have any other kind of work and know I can’t function in a regular “9-5.” It’s my dream to be an artist but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy and it certainly took a lot of hard work to get here.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
‘Can’t never did’ my mom said that to me growing up. If you want something, do not give up. Do not go through life expecting it to come to you. You have to make your dreams become your reality for yourself.
Pursuing whatever you want to do comes with a great deal of “rejection” and competition. You have to accept that and not let it get you down. I put rejection in quotations because I believe that the right opportunity will come with patience and persistence. What matters the most is that you stay true and authentic to yourself throughout it all. That’s the best you can do and f**k the trends. Authenticity will always outshine and out last. Even if it takes longer to catch on.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
I am. I started collecting when I was 15 years old. The first records I got were “Songs of Leonard Cohen” by Leonard Cohen and “Animalization” by The Animals. The first new released record I got was “The Man Who Died in His Boat” by Grouper. I was drawn to the experience of listening to records. Reading the back, the insert, the label and whatever else I could read as I listen through once, and then I usually play the B side twice through. I don’t know why – I’ve always done that.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
I do see the resurgence of vinyl which is cool and gives me hope. I am so pleased to sell records at shows and it’s good to know people still care about vinyl. I am worried that all this huff n puff about streaming services not paying enough was just a “fad” that people wanted to complain about and are not take any action on the matter. I wish more folks would end their streaming services so music and albums can live in the sacred and special place that they deserve to live in.
When I get worried about the industry, I remind myself of the power of the voice and the power of community. I feel strongly about boycotting Spotify or at least not supporting them until they pay artists fairly. I understand why people use it, convenience is nice, but maybe something so special shouldn’t be so accessible and indigestible.
Who has been influential to you and your growth as a professional in this industry?
Sharon Van Etten, a friend who encouraged me to move to New York from Kansas City. Ted Jamison, the first musician I played with in NY 6 years ago and he is still in my band. Julie Orlick, who shot my album cover for “no roof no floor” and has helped me capture my vision beyond and keeps me dreaming. Ian Langehough, who works on all my design work and our collaborative efforts have kept me focused and driven. My family, I am so thankful for all the support and help I’ve received from my community. It’s Radical.
Anything else you’d like to add; if not tell us what you’re listening to:
Rock & Roll will never die!
Road Dog Booking: @roaddogbooking